Why and how I (and many others) charge for missed appointments and late cancelations:
My policy is to charge $20.00 an hour for appointments that are forgotten or not canceled with twenty-four hours notice
if there is a client on standby who would have taken the appointment time missed. My reason for this is that forgotten and
late canceled appointments can result in a significant loss of income. I used to make allowance for medical and other emergencies
but that resulted in an unhappy tendency for some to circumvent the facts. Rather than spend time trying to ascertain the
truth (to be fair to both myself and the client) I discontinued that aspect of the policy.
I find that most clients are able to keep appointments or change them in a reasonable time. I also find that most clients
offer to pay for lost appointments without being asked.
If you need a need a more complete explanation, this is how it works...
A client, let's call her Brunheild, calls for appointment three weeks away, she selects Thursday at 4:00 for a manicure
and pedicure (two hours). During the following three weeks three other clients' call wanting an appointment for that week,
one asking for anytime after 1:00 pm on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the next asking for something Thursday afternoon before
7:00 and the third asking for Thursday at 3:00 or 4:00. I will offer them what appointments are open and make a note to call
them if I get a cancelation on the day or time they prefer. Sometimes only a few days or times will serve. For our example,
let us say that one client is able to adapt to another time but two end up on stand-by for Thursday afternoon. Her Thursday
comes around and at 2:00 Brunhilda calls saying she cannot keep the 4:00 appointment and wants to reschedule. I then call
any clients on the stand-by list for that time. If none are able to make it (it is rather short notice but sometimes it works
and the time is filled, sometimes a new client walks in at the perfect time), I have lost $40.00 to $70.00 dollars (average,
not including more expensive services). If several clients do this in a week it results in a significant loss of income. If
one client does this frequently it results in a significant loss of income, my record holder was Kathy P who's grand total
of lost appointments reached $569.00 (acrylic fills) one year for 18 missed appointments when I worked in a salon with polices
that would not address the issue and forbade us to speak to clients about it.
Another condition is that manicurists so not make as much money per hour as hair stylists or estheticians, who also sometimes
have two clients in for services at one time.
If Brunhilda values our relationship she offers to pay for the lost time. Most clients do so. If this happens a few times
I will suggest that she wait until the day she wants to come in and call for an open time. She will not get what may be her
first choice of times, but she will not have to pay for her cancelation either. If she is flexible time-wise this may work
well for her. If she complains about paying I will talk her out of booking so far in advance, pointing out to her that she
will have to pay for missed time again if she cancels.
An alternative for Bruhilda is to find a manicurist who either does not care about lost time (independently wealthy, I
know some) or go to a salon set up for walk-in clients (some shops do not make appointments).
If she is angry, resentful or deceitful I will suggest that we are probably not right for each other and offer to inform
her next manicurist of the products we have used and colors she prefers.